May 28, 2011

mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats

Remember how my niece came to town? And she loves to bake too? well, she had a recipe that she wanted to share with me.  And boy am I glad she did.  She did her take one these.  Yum.  I can’t lie though, these bad boys are pretty rich. that’s why I made mine mini style:DSC_0058Just you wait…DSC_0060That frosting is fluffy peanut butter goodness.  Awesome right? 

These cupcakes have been a big hit with some of my reliable taste testers.  Comments like, “honestly the best cupcakes I’ve ever had” or “to die for” and my personal favorite, “holy yummy oh so deliciously sinful cupcake”

want to make some??

Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats

*this recipe makes a ton of mini cupcakes just so you’re aware*

  • Start with a chocolate cake mix (Sure you can use a mix!! the frosting is the star in this recipe! I used Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food) + the oil, water, eggs
  • divide evenly into lined cupcake pans. You don’t want to fill them too full, it’s better if they come out with a fairly flat top.
  • mini cupcakes don’t take very long to make, and you don’t want to over bake them! I started at 8 minutes, then removed them when a toothpick came out clean.  Cool on racks

Peanut Butter fluff recipe

1 1/2 C (3 sticks) butter room temp

1 1/2 C creamy Peanut Butter

1 1/2 C Marshmallow creme

3 C powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

~2 Tblsp milk

  • cream butter, then add peanut butter

    *tip for adding peanut butter: line the measuring cup with plastic wrap before putting the PB in:DSC_0044then just flop it out. see how nice it comes out?

    DSC_0046

  • add marshmallow cr√®me and mix to combine

  • add the powdered sugar 1/2 – 3/4 C at a time

  • beat until fluffy, then add the vanilla.

  • Add milk 1 T at a time until it’s a good piping consistencyDSC_0047

it should look about like this, and yes, I took lots of taste tests.DSC_0049now pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.  I just used a ziplock bag with a hole cut into the corner.DSC_0051

now, throw them into the freezer for about 20 min, you want the frosting pretty firm to the touch

Chocolate Coating

1 bag of chocolate chips

3 Tblsp oil

while the cupcakes are freezing, melt the chips with the oil in the microwave on 1/2 power, stirring every 30 seconds.  You’ll want the chocolate to be in a cup or bowl that is deep enough to dip the cupcakes into, but with a wide enough mouth so it’s easy.  I used big mug

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dip em in, then pull em out, and let the excess drip off a bit.DSC_0055

let the chocolate harden.  I recommend storing these cupcakes in the fridge, in a container or with plastic wrap on top.  It makes the chocolate coating more of a shell, so you bite through chocolate shell, chilled PB fluff, and then the soft cake. Pretty dang good!

May 26, 2011

Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

I have fond memories of homemade ice cream while growing up.  It was a special treat.  and So delicious.  The ice cream maker would run outside, and it was so exciting to hear the machine slow down, because that meant it was ready! 

A couple of years ago, my husband wanted to start making ice cream.  So, we got an ice cream maker!  We tried Several vanilla recipes.  That’s the basic, so we needed to get it right.  Some had so much cream, you’re mouth would be coated within a couple of bites.  Some were too sweet.  Some have lots of ingredients that I don’t usually have on hand.  Some you have to cook, then cool, but I would never think to make it early enough. You get the picture.  Then I found a recipe that contains only 4 ingredients:DSC_0017Yup. that’s right.  Boo-yah! 

and that vanilla on the right, is from Mexico.  Let me tell ya, Mexican vanilla is delicious.  When I smell it, I kind of want to drink the whole bottle….

So, 4 ingredients, no cooking, no eggs, perfect cream ratio, sounds good to me! 

Vanilla Ice Cream for a 2 quart ice cream maker

2 C heavy whipping cream

2 C milk

1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (I’ve tried Great Value… it’s not the same)

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

  • combine all ingredients whisk to combine (whisking seems easier to me)
  • put into an ice cream maker to chillDSC_0019this is the one we use.  perfect little 2 quart-er.  and it doesn’t involve ice and rock salt, which makes it even better.

DSC_0021and when it looks like this is when you should be very excited!  Since the ice cream is so soft, and melts quickly, you can put bowls into the freezer while making the ice cream.  The cold bowls will help keep it frozen longer. DSC_0023I forgot to freeze my bowl, you can see it starting to melt around the edges.  But you know what? It’s still delicious.  Eat it plan like this, or with fresh fruit, or with oreos, or pie, or cobbler….  the options are endless! Enjoy!

May 20, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

My mother-in-law and niece were in town for a visit.  And they like to bake too! It was a super fun week filled with lots of baking.  Then, they were kind enough to watch my kiddos while my husband and I got to go to Cancun. So, that’s where I’ve been the past couple of weeks.

but now back to baking!DSC_0051

I love strawberries (especially when they’re always on sale).  I like them by themselves, with yogurt and granola, dipped in chocolate, on pancakes, with ice cream, etc. And these cupcakes were no exception. I very much enjoyed them. They have a great fresh strawberry taste.

Strawberry Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart makes about 18

1 3/8 C all-purpose flour

1/4 C cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 C (1 stick) butter room temp

1 1/8 C sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 C milk

1 C finely chopped fresh strawberries

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners
  • Sift together both flours and baking powder
  • Cream butter, sugar and vanilla on med-hi until pale and fluffy
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated, scraping down sides as needed
  • With speed on low, add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with milk, beating well until combined
  • Fold in chopped strawberries by hand
  • Fill the lined cups 3/4 full, and bake 20-25 minutes
  • Let cool for 15 minutes in tins before tipping out onto racks, then let cool completely

Strawberry Buttercream from Martha makes about 2 1/2 C

3/4 C fresh strawberries rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped

2 large egg whites

1/2 + 1/8 C sugar

3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temp (I only had salted butter, and the frosting was good on the cupcakes, but I think it would have been better to use unsalted)

  • puree strawberries in a food processor
  • combine egg whites and sugar in heatproof bowl, set over simmering water
  • whisk constantly by hand until mixture is warm and sugar has dissolved – should feel smooth
  • place egg/sugar mixture in a standing mixer with whisk attachment- start low and increase to med-hi
  • mix until stiff but not dry peaks form, and the the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, around 10 minutes
  • turn speed to med-low, add butter 1 Tlbsp at a time, mixing well after each addition
  • after the butter has been added, scrape down sides of bowl and switch to the paddle attachment, beat on low for about 2 minutes
  • add strawberries and beat until combined (this step took a lot longer then I thought it would, at first it looks like the strawberries will never mix in.  But they do!)
  • stir with a flexible spatula until the frosting is smooth

DSC_0053I used Wilton tip #4B to frost these

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May 2, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes w/ Coconut Buttercream

DSC_0038If you like coconut, you will love these cupcakes.  They are seriously delicious.  And every time I make them, they turn out. I even love them without frosting!  If I want a coconut treat, this is what I’ll make.  The cake is so moist, and I absolutely love the coconut flavor from the milk and shredded coconut.  Then to top it off, the frosting is rich, and smells divine.  

Coconut Cupcakes (From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book) makes about 20

1 3/4 C all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C packed sweetened shredded coconut

3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp (I use salted and omit the salt)

1 1/3 C Sugar

2 large whole eggs plus 2 egg whites, room temp

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 C unsweetened coconut milk (I find mine in the Asian food isle. I shake the can before I open it, then stir it all up before using it. After that, I stick what’s left in the fridge to use for my next batch something else)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Pulse shredded coconut in a food processor until finely ground, and whisk into flour mixture
  • With an electric mixer on med-hi, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in whole eggs, whites and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of coconut milk, and beating until combined after each.
  • Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes (I only baked mine for 16) Remove from oven and turn out onto wire racks to cool completely
  • DSC_0035and if you want to eat them all right now, I totally don’t blame you.

    Martha uses a 7 min frosting in her book, but I decided to try a coconut buttercream instead.

    Coconut Buttercream (Adapted from one of Martha’s basic buttercreams)

    1 stick butter room temp

    1 1/2 C powdered sugar

    1/2 tsp coconut extract

    1/4 tsp vanilla extract

    1-2 Tblsp whipping cream (or milk)

  • cream the butter (hand or standing mixer works fine)
  • add the powdered sugar, 1/2 C at a time, mixing it in completely before adding more
  • mix in the extracts
  • to thin it out a bit, for easier spreading or piping, add some milk or cream
  • **I only frosted about 1/2 the cupcakes with this recipe. 

    So if you want them all frosted, double the recipe, or just put less frosting on each cake**

    DSC_0039I used Wilton tip 1M in a disposable pastry bag to pipe the tops

    DSC_0041And then I thoroughly enjoyed one! (or maybe two…)